Author’s Note: To better explain my point, I’m talking about the history of the Doki Doki Literature Club, so if you haven’t played it yet and don’t want to be spoiled, this is your warning to turn around. Additional Note: If you haven’t played Doki Doki Literature Club, please read the in-game content warnings. This game is awesome – easily one of my favorite horror games – but it goes in dark places . Just know what you’re getting into ahead of time.
Doki Doki Literature Club Plus is out now, enhancing the original psychological horror game with HD visuals and adding new story content and an image gallery. The release also marks the first time you can play the game on console, as DDLC Plus is available on Xbox, PlayStation, Switch, and PC.
Having said that, if you haven’t played DDLC yet, I recommend playing DDLC Plus on PC for the best experience. The story doesn’t change – you’ll experience the same haunting tale, juxtaposed with friendly, colorful visual novel imagery no matter where you play it – but some of the horror in the game’s twist is lost on consoles. Alarms work best on PC.
For those who haven’t played the Doki Doki Literature Club and don’t care about spoilers, let me bring you up to speed. In DDLC, you play as a teenager who joins his high school literature club at the instigation of his childhood friend, Sayori. Alongside klutzy but cheerful Sayori, the club is made up of cute but tough Natsuki, calm but passionate Yuri, and the ever helpful president Monika.
Monika decides that each member should compose poems to share so that the club can come together. If you use words and themes for your poems that Sayori, Natsuki, or Yuri like, they will become romantically drawn to you. As the days go by, Monika mentions that you never spend time with her, and lets slip details that she, as a video game character, shouldn’t know, like how you can save your game to preserve your progress.
After a while, Monika starts playing around with the Doki Doki Literature Club code in order to make the other characters less attractive. Sayori’s depression suddenly turns into suicidal thoughts, Yuri’s self-deprecating nature inexplicably turns into an insatiable fetish, and Natsuki’s aggressive deposition gives way to a distant and verbally abusive attitude. As the girl’s new personalities influence their coded goal as video game heroines who must love the player character, they begin to pursue your affections in increasingly violent ways, forcing Monika to take them down one by one. so that the game can continue. Ultimately, it’s just you and her. She then admits that she knows your character isn’t real and starts talking to you, the player, and corrupting the DDLC code so that you can’t restart the game. It’s just you and she now always staring into her eyes through the screen. Sinister.
That’s until you enter the game code and – like Monika did for Sayori, Natsuki, and Yuri – you delete Monika.
When played, this whole experience is incredibly unnerving. At first glance, Doki Doki Literature Club looks like your standard, cute rom-com visual novel. The game then slowly gives you clues that something is wrong with the other club members and that Monika is responsible. But nothing really prepares you to reveal that Monika is fully sentient, knows your real name (or, at least, your username), and has somehow gone beyond the game to corrupt your hardware into her, a humble character. , may find some happiness and be with you, the person she loves.
It’s a horror that works because of its surprise. You don’t expect the game to break the fourth wall, and feeling like Monika is in control of the game makes her feel very much alive. It’s terrifying in the most impressive way – and it’s sold on the fact that you actually have to quit the game, open the “My Computer” folder on your desktop, access the game files, scroll to what you happen to “Characters” “, locate Monika’s file and find a way to delete it from your computer. This is what you would do to kill an unresponsive program or application, but in the context of DDLC, you kill an artificial intelligence that is holding you hostage.
Or at least that’s what it feels like on PC. Xbox, PlayStation, and Switch are not structured like computers. So, to reflect the experience, the console versions of DDLC Plus are streamed to a fake desktop PC. When Monika takes over, you leave that bogus desktop, open “Files,” then just go to Monika and delete her.
And DDLC loses a lot of its horror in this scenario. On the one hand, it spoils its surprise a bit right off the bat, hinting that you’ll have to use that fake desktop PC for something at some point. No such clue on PC – why would you want to question your own desktop that you see every day?
But more importantly, this setup removes the feeling that Monika is taking control of your life. On PC, the need to quit the game and go to the computer or Steam files makes it seem like Monika is actively taking control of your hardware and you have to fight her to prevent her from escaping – a idea planted in your head when the game flashes a strange message in the middle of the story that one of the programs tried to escape but failed. I was never afraid to play DDLC Plus on Switch, as Monika was always confined to gaming. She never did anything to change Nintendo’s hardware. So the whole time she didn’t feel alive – she was just an interesting gadget in a psychological horror game.
Doki Horror Doki Literature Club is effective because the game is designed to take advantage of how PC hardware and software works to really sell the haunting realization of its twist. It’s an incredibly smart gameplay segment and an important aspect in fully appreciating the psychological horror of its story. The console versions lose something because they don’t take advantage of how the Xbox, PlayStation, or Switch hardware and software each work uniquely to break the fourth wall and bring horror to the real world. These versions instead try to mimic the PC experience, which makes it bogus and therefore less scary. So while Doki Doki Literature Club Plus is an effective horror game wherever you play it, all the impact of its psychological twist is lost on consoles. If you are going to get it back, get it on PC.